Lorna Simpson is returning to Salon 94 for her third exhibition at the Bowery gallery. The Brooklyn-born artist became well-known in the mid-’80s for her large-scale works combining photography and textual elements with watercolor, ink, or acrylic paint, and creating nuanced statements on contemporary society’s perception of race, gender, and identity. Her show at Salon 94, opening September 8, will feature a number of paintings that premiered in the 55th Venice Biennale.
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Another day, another watering hole that’s closing. This time it’s Jerome’s, the Lower East Side late-night staple just steps from the Williamsburg Bridge, which will be closing its doors for good tonight. Formerly known as St. Jerome’s, it was reincarnated into Rivington F&B in 2014, and was a favorite LES hangout for Lady Gaga.
After St. Jerome’s was revamped into Rivington F&B in March 2014 by Jonas Pelli, a former bartender and manager at St. Jerome’s, and his new partners in crime Omri S. Quire and Paul Seres of The DL, the bar expanded with a new backroom, a fresh cocktail list, and a food menu.
After the makeover, patrons who remembered and loved St. Jerome’s back from its down-and-dirty days were afraid the bar would become a bro-festered lounge, but for the most part Rivington F&B (still known as Jerome’s) managed to pay homage to its wilder roots. The laid-back vibes, a small dance floor in the back, and their rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic simply made the spot feel like a slightly posher version of the beaten-up dive bar it once was. The chalkboard doors in the front would sport homages to recently deceased music legends, including Bowie and Prince.
While the owners wouldn’t explain exactly why they had to close – S. Quire simply said “it’s out of our control” – Bowery Boogie reported back in June that the space had apparently been bought by new owners who plan to turn it into something called the LES Junction, although there’s little information about the spot as of yet. The new owners Gavin Downie and Lynn McNeill submitted a liquor license request to the Community Board 3 for 155 Rivington back in May.
Pelli and S. Quire had a big blowout on Saturday night with DJs Prince Terrence and Nate Turbow to celebrate their last weekend at Jerome’s, as well as an “insane” Monday night party, which became a collaboration of their popular “Magic Monday” and “Dollhouse” parties. “We’ve let our DJs and employees each do their own send-off this week,” S. Quire explained.
S. Quire wistfully said that in a way, it was fitting that they would have one last hurrah on a Wednesday. “We actually opened on a Wednesday with a party called Clubhouse Déjà Vu, which is a throwback to the old St. Jerome’s,” he said, explaining that the original Jerome’s used to be nicknamed “the clubhouse.”
Naturally, tonight’s party will carry that moniker, and feature DJs Marty E. and Ian Eldorado spinning tunes until 4am.
Nonetheless, it was clear that S. Quire and Pelli were sad to have to close down. “It’s hard to let go of anything to which you devote so much time and effort. We’ve got a lot of great memories, learned a lot and made many new friends and we hope that everyone else who’s been coming to the bar has gained as much as us,” S. Quire explained.
But S. Quire and Pelli are Lower East Siders till the bitter end, and have been hatching some new ideas for ventures around the neighborhood. “We need to find the real estate first,” Pelli said.
One thing’s for sure though: they’re not moving to Brooklyn. “Brooklyn is not us,” Pelli said decisively.
Jerome’s at Rivington F&B, 115 Rivington Street between Suffolk and Clinton Street. Tonight, 5pm – 4am.
Brace yourselves, the behemoth is coming: the Lower East Side monster development known as Essex Crossing is (sort of close) to completing the first of nine units that will comprise the 1.9 million-square foot project. The developers, Delancey Street Associates, announced the “topping out” of 175 Delancey Street today, which is a fancy developer term for finishing the last part of a building’s basic structure.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s done yet. In fact, the ominously entitled “Site 6,” which is set to be a 14-story building with 100 units of affordable senior housing, won’t be completed until December 2017, a statement from Delancey Street Associates revealed.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the East Village in the 90s? Junkies passed out on Avenue A while runaway kids hung out in squats on St. Marks? CBGB and other classic punk bars still going hard, only to be priced out of their leases less than a decade later? Punk heads and artists sharing studios in derelict tenements? For Tim Murphy, the New York-based journalist and author of the new novel Christodora, it was all of these things, but above all it was the home for a community of diverse people from different backgrounds, sexual orientations, and experiences who were searching for a place that would accept them just as they are.
As a young man who arrived to the city in 1991, the East Village represented a haven for an alternative gay scene that was way less polished and more grungy than the one in Chelsea and the West Village. “Courtney Love was the patron saint of the gay East Village in the ’90s,” Murphy told us with a laugh.
Margo Jefferson and Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah
August 23, 7pm at Strand Bookstore, 828 Broadway at 12th Street.
Margo Jefferson’s acclaimed memoir Negroland, which The New York Times called “powerful and complicated,” explores her upper middle class childhood growing up in the 1940s, 50s, and early 60s while deftly avoiding racial and socioeconomic landmines. She deftly describes the racial identity politics inherent in her community’s attempt to be considered the exception to how other blacks were viewed by the white elite of her Chicago milieu. In order to celebrate the release of the memoir’s paperback edition, Jefferson will be joined by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, a New York Times Magazine contributor and essayist whose writing has appeared in The Paris Review, The Believer, Bookforum, and more.
“Honestly, I just wanted a festival and to throw a big party,” says Coree Spencer of her forthcoming Cinder Block Comedy Festival. As lighthearted as that seems, Spencer organized the festival on her terms in order to challenge the ongoing status quo in the comedy world.
If the Olympics put you in the mood for serving and spiking, here’s some good news: The Henry M. Jackson Playground is getting a volleyball area. It’s just one of many perks coming to two Lower East Side playgrounds as part of a city initiative to modernize ailing parks.
Pokémon Go’s in full swing and fall fashion is flashing right back to where it’s been for a while now: disaffected stares, tattoo chokers, clunky Doc Marten oxfords in every shade of the Windows 95 color palette, and disused flannels fashioned into something that can only be understood as a waist-tie. So one can safely say the ’90s are still making a comeback, as the decade continues to fascinate twenty-somethings who probably don’t even remember the OJ Simpson Trial and are only pretending to understand Ren & Stimpy references. But now all these ’90s-culture appropriators will have an opportunity to really feel what it was like to be a kid with dial-up internet and a pocket full of Bubble Tape– with the opening of Brooklyn Pogs.
Oh Trump! The presidential hopeful continues to be a never-ending repository of hilarity, amazement, disgust, and abject terror. His bravado, swagger, and blatant disregard for those pesky things called facts have attracted millions of voters, but have repelled many others. We’ve seen more than enough of that doughy orange face and wispy hair to last most of us a lifetime, but a group called Indecline– what most outlets are reporting as an “anarchist collective” but don’t seem to embody those ideals at all– decided to take it one step further yesterday when the installed a naked Donald Trump statue at Union Square.
We’ve known about the impending “injection of luxury” slated for Bushwick– the three- and four-story types have been popping up for a while now, and emerging residential plans are starting to look more and more like the glassy condominium buildings and fancy new high-rises of the Williamsburg waterfront and Lower East Side. The neighborhood got its very first boutique hotel earlier this year and continues to see the development of fancy-dorm-like compounds, Colony 1209 for one. Hell, Bushwick’s even getting its very own “European Village” (although not everyone’s ready to welcome the newcomers’ plans to “interrupt” the current order).